Creating compelling ads to inspire students to pursue higher education


Case Study: Dominican University

Student Recruitment through Digital Advertising

Utilizing online advertising for nonprofits, our goal was to create an inspiring campaign for student recruitment into the Graduate and Adult Degree Completion programs at Dominican University of California. Dominican University competes within the highly competitive San Francisco market, so we knew our ads needed to stand out as well as hit their cost per application goal.

In order to test different concepts to find the best results, we leaned into our roots of creating meaningful online advertising for nonprofits and developed audience targeted campaigns across several ad platforms with a variety of different creatives and messaging combinations.

Our first step was to under which audiences would be most relevant to the different degree programs at Dominican. The client provided us with historical data on past students and we went to work to find similar people in the digital space. This also meant expanded outside their traditional students to see if there were different audiences that could potentially be valuable. We call this process persona development.

Our persona development process is the cornerstone to how we launch successful student recruitment campaigns. Before we spend $1 on advertising we want to know who our target audiences is, why they care about our objective, and what is going to motivate them to take action. We also want to make sure we align our personas to the exact platform they are on so we are not wasting time and money on ad platforms our target audience isn’t.


Leads acquired


Cost per lead


Increase in website traffic


  • The campaign promoted four different degrees: MBA, MS in Education, MS/MBA in Healthcare Leadership, and Adult Degree Completion. Deliverables included display ads (mobile & desktop), as well as Facebook and LinkedIn graphics. This campaign also included included search engine marketing.

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